The year 2018 was marked “The Year of Intelligence” because of the numerous achievements and changes it brought our way. These continual changes in technology and how they continually improve our lives is exciting and has led to some unexpected business trends that are especially noteworthy.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning
Medium says we’re about to witness the IoT become intelligent. This means that we’ll be able to have smarter interactions with everyday devices as they operate either semi-autonomously or autonomously in uncontrolled real-world conditions without any intervention from us. As this proliferates, we’ll start seeing multiple devices work together to develop the IoT to its fullest potential. This will create one big integrated system that will drive a shift in human-machine interaction and result in the fusion of artificial intelligence and the Internet of things. As such, the IoT isn’t the only thing that will change Network Depot says we can also expect machine learning to change. This will give small businesses an opportunity to better target their products and services to customers on popular sites like Amazon and Facebook.
It’s important to embrace integrated communications. You can make your communication simple with a business phone system for your enterprise. Chron says by recognizing the value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic role this will play in your advertising, public relations, personal selling, and sales promotion you’ll find that this phone system will make a big difference. This impact is especially apparent when it comes to your marketing. While a traditional marketing approach requires separate campaigns for advertising, press relations, direct marketing and sales promotions, this is no longer true.
Now you can count on your phone system to help you run an integrated campaign, making your marketing even more effective.
Cloud domination will continue climbing steadily upward. While over 70% of companies with 10-99 employees already use the cloud, more will start using it this year. Those companies who are only using one app will also work to increase the number they use as they move toward completely cloud-based businesses.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Consumers consistently expect more information and engagement before they make a purchasing decision. As such, VR’s improved, inexpensive technology will grow in importance. Many companies are now following in real estate companies’ footsteps as they take their potential clients on virtual 360-degree tours.
Video already occupies an ever-growing dominant space online, when you add VR to it, you have a very powerful tool that you should pay more attention to when it comes to your marketing and sales processes. This is also a great way to offer your customers more information, boost customer service, and increase sales.
New Approaches to Privacy and Security
As technology continues developing and data continues growing in importance, hacking techniques are also growing more progressive. The increasing number of devices that are connected to the internet makes the growing amount of data more vulnerable, especially since it isn’t very well protected since IoT gadgets are extremely insecure. Nevertheless, these IoT devices continue growing – even though people know they’re threatening their privacy. Additionally, most large businesses are susceptible to being hacked (e.g. Uber and Verizon in 2017).
Fortunately, we should see great strides being made to keep us safe soon – especially regarding machine learning. This will establish probabilistic, predictive approaches to ensuring security. It will implement techniques like analyzing the behavior that enables us to detect and stop attacks that can bypass static protective systems.
Blockchain technology is also attracting attention as it’s already brought a new technology called Zero Knowledge Proof to our attention. This enables transactions that secure users’ privacy using mathematics.
CARTA (Continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment) is another new approach to safety. This consists of a continuous evaluation of the risks and the degree of trust in situations. It applies to all business participants – from developers to partners.
These are just a few of the promising solutions that we’ll see bring more privacy into our lives.
Blockchain will Grow More Popular
As we already mentioned, blockchain is growing in popularity today. Simply put, blockchain is a revolutionary decentralized technology that stores and exchanges data for cryptocurrencies. This distributed database opens other new, broad possibilities. Since it acts as a digital register of transactions and contracts it stores an ever-growing list of ordered records (a.k.a. blocks) that contain a timestamp and a link to the previous record. This affects various applications and opens new business opportunities too.
As the role of social responsibility and online security continue growing, blockchain technologies are growing increasingly more relevant. In a blockchain system it’s almost impossible to forge digital transactions, which is leading to the growing credibility of these systems too. This will lay the fundamentals of disruptive digital business. Brick and mortar companies can translate these processes into a completely digital environment.
Additionally, as we watch the hype about blockchain in the financial services’ industry slow down, we’ll also watch government, healthcare, manufacturing and other industries start using it. These are things your business needs to take into account and analyze as they’ll influence your customers’ behavior, your intellectual property management, and open new insights into protection from copyright infringement.
The number of cyberattacks and threats are still growing. As a small business you’re not “untouchable.” You’ll also experience more attacks this year – some of which will also be more sophisticated. This is a good reason for you to outsource your cybersecurity needs to IT managed service providers who have access to the latest cybersecurity tools, methods, and information. Consulting with an experienced IT Support Provider will help prepare your small business to best meet any upcoming challenges.
The Use of Robots and Chatbots Will Rise
Entrepreneur says using messaging bots (a.k.a. chatbots – front-end interfaces for communicating with customers) will have a tangible impact. More advanced bots will leverage AI to provide users with enriching and interactive experiences. This is why you’re seeing more companies embed these on their home pages and using them on Facebook and Slack as well.